Paradise Mountain

I decided to venture out and tackle Paradise Mountain in the Hellhole Canyon Preserve. This is one of the replacement peaks for the 100 Peak Challenge and thought I should do it for completeness. The day’s route was to be a lollipop, first dropping down and then crossing Hell Creek before beginning the ascent towards Paradise Mountain. I opted to do the loop counter-clockwise. Upon reflection, I would recommend doing it the other way.

Once past the creek, the climb would begin in earnest. Some wildflowers dotted the side of the trail as the trail continued gaining elevation. A little breeze helped, as there was almost no shade. I can see why they close it during August.

Soon the summit came fully into view. I took a break once I reached it, soaking in the views. Palomar stood clearly to the east, Harrah’s Casino to the north and Valley View Casino to the west.

I grabbed my gear and headed off to Ditch Benchmark, which was just to the west. I looked to see if there was a benchmark here, but did not find it. I tapped the summit cairn with my poles and motored on. I later learned there was one, oh well.

The final goal of the day was Viewpoint 1. This was just a bit off the main loop, but it did provide a lovely view of the area and is listed on Peakbagger.

Now to start the descent. The day was certainly warming up, and I was glad for the early start. Finally encountered my first set of hikers. They told me they did encounter a rattlesnake a bit down the trail. I had been keeping my eyes and ears open throughout the hike, and now I would add a little more caution to my steps.

As I continued to make my way down, I would encounter about 6 more groups. Some families, some getting in a trail run. I was able to pass them with no issues, however, only one person had a mask. For me, I just had to pull up my buff as I passed.

Crossing back over the creek, a family was enjoying the cool water. Now the climb back to the car. I was feeling the heat some as I worked my way up. As I reached the parking lot, it was now full and two horse trailers were there. Tossed my gear in the car and headed back home.

I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, Central Coast, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

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